If you think last night’s win assured anything, think again. Because it’s not as automatic as you might think that the Rangers are going to the playoffs.
See Philly is still in a battle for the fourth spot and home-ice against Carolina, or possibly Pittsburgh. Yes, the Flyers clinched a playoff spot last night, but that doesn’t mean they’re going half-speed or resting guys or giving anything away tomorrow at the Garden.
Plus, Florida is playing at Atlanta tomorrow with its playoff life on the line, needing to play three points better than the Rangers these last two games. But if Philly and the Cats win tomorrow, everything changes dramatically again. Then the Panthers are tied in points and one behind in wins …
And worse, the Panthers are home for Washington, playing probably for nothing by then, Saturday … and with a win could actually go ahead of the Rangers, leaving the Blueshirts and their fans all day Easter Sunday to think about in a complete all-on-the-line, win-and-in, lose-and-gone, game in Philly. Imagine, the agita.
Not that I want to be negative. I just got the feeling there was a tad too much celebration after last night’s very clutch, crucial and impressive victory over Montreal.
A few quick thoughts before I head to practice.
1) See, this is why they got Captain Clutch … to do almost nothing until Game No. 80, then score the two goals that might have earned Jim Dolan two home playoff gates.
2) Ryan Callahan won the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award. Did they even bother voting? I mean, was anybody second? Was it a guy who’s been here, like, six weeks (No. 16)? Because nobody else was even close in terms of effort.
3) I wonder if the MSG telecasts this week were moved to MSG Plus because of the technology involved in that vision-vandalizing virtual ad they put up on the end boards glass last night. I also wonder, all the time, why they never show John Tortorella’s entire postgame press conference. It’s far more riveting than any other part of the postgame show, yet MSG cuts out after a few questions.
4) If John Tortorella was using psychology on his players when he said “If this were Game 15 some of them wouldn’t be in the lineup” then full marks to the coach. But I have an idea he was just being honest, and if that’s his honest opinion, then I respect him even more.
See ya later.
UPDATE, 11:16 A.M.: I forgot to mention, it was pointed out, that the Rangers can also get in if Montreal goes 0-2.
UPDATE, 11:29 A.M.: OK, now I’m second-guessing somebody else’s math and thinking I was right all along. Montreal has the season-series over the Rangers (five points to four). So even if the Habs go 0-2, the Rangers will need another win to get in … if Florida wins out. If the Habs go 0-2 and the Rangers get a win they can finish seventh, I think.
UPDATE: 11:45 A.M.: Also, Rangers get seventh if Montreal goes 0-2 and the Rangers get two OTLs or lose two skills competitions.